Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
Picking Up The Bits And Pieces
by Derek Smart
When last we saw our heroes, panic and crushing depression were the order of the day. Fire fell from the skies, the rivers ran red with the blood of the innocent, and Jose Macias started the final game of a double-header while Jerry Hairston lay fallow. The end was obviously near.
Chaos and despair reigned, and if the flailings of the healthy weren't enough to hurl one into apoplexy, seeing The Savior's shoulder in need of saving would finish the job. After the mayhem rolled into its eighth day, the heads of Corey Patterson and Jason Dubois followed close behind, in a desperate seeming attempt to save careers and seasons.
Then, much to my surprise and that of countless others, a ray of light broke through the clouds, and for three days the Cubs looked like a club capable of winning more than it lost, and a season that looked to be already flushed was merely teetering on the porcelain rim.
What can be made of all this turmoil? My suggestion is to make nothing and remain calm, for while this could be the beginning of the long string of winning baseball we've all been waiting for, it could also be the sporting equivalent of a Targét tab that's under $100 - a welcome event that's completely unrepeatable.
Whether a permanent change or not, the Cubs' newfound patience at the plate this weekend was a breath of fresh air. To put it in perspective, the team walked 17 times during the three games in Florida, while they took the free pass a mere 18 times over the span of their eight game stretch of ineptitude. What the Cubs did in Miami? More of that, please.
I'm already loving Matt Murton. Having never seen him play before I had no idea what to expect, but now that I've witnessed his work, I very much like what I see.
The short version of my impression is, I didn't necessarily see the makings of a star, but what I think I saw in this admittedly short exposure was a player that has the ability to do several things very well without being exceedingly good at any of them.
He looks like a kid with the potential to be a solid regular - the glue that holds a team together, that fills in the talent gaps between a team's stars. In other words, he looks like he could be something the Cubs haven't had in a long time.
I feel extra bad for Adam Greenberg, because not only did his first Major League at bat leave him with a Bugs Bunny bump, but to judge from the chatter, Felix Pie is going to show up in Chi-town once his ankle bruise heals, and his addition will almost certainly mean Greenberg's subtraction.
At the very least, I hope he gets the chance to show what he can do after the break. He may not spend much time with the big club this year, but a decent showing in limited duty could not only mean some work once September rolls around, it could be the sort of thing that stays in the memory of decision makers until the spring, and that could be a good thing for both him and the Cubs.
Even with the recent run of success, I can sure use this break from the daily grind, and I imagine the same can be said for the Cubs. Let's hope that Derrek and Aramis play well tomorrow while remaining injury free, and that the time off gives this team what they need to finish the year as strongly as they finished the week.